Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The Apple revolution

Great things at CES by Apple Computer (yes, they removed the "Computer" word from their company name), Inc:

  • The company name has changed, so as to reflect their position in the market. Not only computers (but wait: what's the difference between a computer and an iPod, a mediacenter, a DVD recorder?)

  • iTV err, Apple TV, it seems a mini-MAC working like a mediacenter

  • iPhone... I'd suggest you to read on your own at engadget

The only thing that makes me think is this: the iPhone will have GSM/EDGE technology but no UMTS.
I trust the vision that Apple has of the future technology, and despite thinking they are just plain wrong, I try to speculate a bit on it.

3G networks have shown several issues:
  • it seems that if all the mobile users get connected, the infrastructure cannot guarantee the nominal bandwidth of 384 kbps (personally, I have a nokia 6630 which goes slower in UMTS than GPRS... I definitely wouldn't suggest my mobile provider for data connection.)
  • 3g video calls are not the golden goose that operators have thought it to be. Luca presents a good reasoning based both on personal experience and proficiency on the subject.
  • UMTS connection is really power consuming, much more than a Wi-Fi connection. It's just a matter of bandwidth and transmission power.
Moreover, data rate plans are usually expensive, if compared to a Wi-Fi connection. You can answer back that Wi-Fi coverage is not everywhere, and that you can have the need to connect everywhere.
But please, don't think that Apple is going to sell this device to flying workers, think about the mass market. The mass market is residential. It moves back and forth between two places: home and office. For the 1% of time they go out their "connection boundaries", they can afford the little expense of time necessary to connect on EDGE[1] -and they won't download big files while on the go: they'll probably download just rss news and easy reading, nothing more "complex".

Hey, EDGE is much faster than GPRS, and compared to actual 3G italian implementations it's not that bad: TIM, for instance, provides both EDGE and UMTS, and an Italian forum presents a user contributed comparison that shows no great difference between them

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